I made the most out of last weekend by hustling out to a campsite just east of Mount Hood right after work. Barry was already out there after spending the day getting re-certified to use a chain saw in the National Forests. We met up, built a great fire, and started the weekend off right and right away. The following morning, we made use of having two cars by parking one at a trail head for Elk Meadows and driving the other to a trail head near Pollalie Creek. We hiked from the creek into a gorgeous meadow and set up camp nearby. We built another great campfire, watched the colors in the meadow change while the sun set, and read to each other from The Heart of Darkness. The following day, after enjoying several cups of coffee in the meadow, we hiked out and ate breakfast with stunning views along Gnarl Ridge, and then made our way across beautiful terrain near a quick-moving, refreshing creek. Barry made a bridge for us by tossing a downed tree over the rocks. We peeled off our socks and cooled our feet in therapeutically cold water, and were met by a deer who liked our hang out spot as much as we did. It was awesome. The weekend was definitely the right way to officially start summer.
We've recently had a couple stretches of amazingly hot weather here in Portland. When the temperature hit well above ninety a couple weeks ago, Barry and I took off for the Wilson River where we lounged on rocks and played in the water all afternoon to cool down.
There's water beyond those rocks.
Barry's there, too.
As the sun began to get lower in the sky and the riverbed got covered in shade, the temperature dropped and we climbed back up to our car to go home. We'd been having so much fun, though, that we didn't really want our day to come to an end. Being so close to the coast, we decided to drive out to the ocean before heading home. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the Oregon coast (let's not get into that here and now), but a stop at the coast seemed like an easy way to extend our outing. We stopped in Tillamook on the way and had great burritos from a truck - La Providencia - before getting to the coast to watch the sunset. It was cold and windy - it felt like a completely different day from what we'd experienced hours earlier. The sky was beautiful and the beach was moody. The scene there that evening made me think I just might reevaluate my opinion of the coast.
Last weekend we headed out to Badger Creek Wilderness and started a hike at the School Canyon trailhead. It was overgrown with fragrant Snowbrush and crisscrossed with lots of downed trees which we made our way through, over, and under to get to a sweet camping site with a nearby spring. We checked out the cool rock garden up there and, the following day, took Little Badger Creek trail back to our starting point, passing the remains of an old mining cabin along the way. We bushwacked the last half mile - the first time we'd done that when backpacking. That left us plenty of time to spare to check out nearby White River Falls and to have a great meal in The Dalles. It was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.